|“||Ma'at has been dying for centuries. Your world was only a temporary speck in the Sea of Chaos. All that you built meant nothing. I am your past and your future! Bow to me now, Carter Kane, and perhaps I will spare you and your sister. I will enjoy having survivors to witness my triumph. Is that not preferable to death?||”|
–Apophis, in The Serpent's Shadow
Apophis is the Egyptian serpentine manifestation/god of chaos or Isfet. He is associated with earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other many natural disasters. For the last two books of the Kane Chronicles, he is known as the series main antagonist and the secret main antagonist of The Red Pyramid. He is the leader of the Forces of Chaos.
As the embodiment of chaos, Apophis was a great threat to Ma'at and even chaotic deities, such as Set fought against him. When the Creation started, his sheut was trapped beneath The First Land, giving him an enduring hatred for Ma'at (this particular detail is an addition to the legend by Rick Riordan for use as a plot device). And because he was Isfet, the first spirit in times, that is the manifestation of Isfet, and Ra was born from the Creation, that was the devastation of the Serpent's chaotic plane. The Prophecy had it that the world would end when Apophis ate the sun, Ra. Set fought as Ra's lieutenant, defending his sun boat. Sekhmet was originally Ra's champion, but when she proved to be too difficult to control, she was replaced by Bast. When Ra was forced to retreat to the heavens, Bast and Apophis were sealed within the Duat and destined to fight until they both died.
However, Bast began to weaken and Apophis' victory came closer. Before that could happen, however, Ruby and Julius Kane freed Bast from the Duat via Cleopatra's Needle so she would be able to heal, resulting in Ruby's death when the magician used her life force to seal the gate so Apophis would not escape as well.
Apophis was a water serpent and the enemy of Ra. Each night, the two would battle but Ra was usually victorious. When Apophis did win, there would be an eclipse or a Storm that blocked the sun which was seen as Apophis eating the sun and when the eclipse ended, it would mark Ra's escape. Often, Ra was depicted with other gods protecting him from Apophis. Early on, Set was his chief defender but was later replaced by Bast, Horus, and/or Sekhmet according to tradition.
When Julius freed five gods from the Rosetta Stone, he set off a chain reaction that freed all of the gods from their prison. Apophis, whose prison was weakened but not broken, began plotting to escape by creating enough Chaos to give him the power he needed. In order to achieve this goal, he possessed Set's lieutenant Face of Horror to manipulate him into destroying North America with the greatest storm ever created. Apophis continued to manipulate Set through Face of Horror until Set was defeated by Carter and Sadie Kane and Sadie used the Feather of Truth to expose Apophis' form in the clouds where he was trying to break loose. Angry at being foiled, Apophis tried to kill Sadie through Face of Horror, but Carter mortally wounded the demon with his khopesh. With Face of Horror's last breath, Apophis taunts Sadie and Carter about how close he came to winning. Carter and Sadie are then able to make Set see that he was being used and get him to ally with them against Apophis. It also makes them more determined then ever to train people in the Path of the Gods, knowing that Apophis will likely return one day.
Apophis is slowly breaking free of his prison in the Duat and has his minions working on freeing him on the equinox. He appears in the beginning, possessing one of Sekhmet's bau to taunt Carter about his crush of Zia Rashid, threatening to kill her if Carter doesn't give up his quest to stop him. He also later sends in a monster to attack Carter and his trainees during Problem Solving 101, but it is defeated and destroyed. Apophis works on rising at the same time as Ra with the help of Vladimir Menshikov, planning to consume Ra while he is weak and old and before he can be reborn. Sadie and Carter, with the help of Bes succeed in awakening Ra, but like Apophis had planned he is weak and old and on their journey through the Twelve House of the Night, they end up in the cavern where Vlad and an army of demons is searching for the last Khepri beetle which after they find and kill it Apophis will be free. Sadie and Carter also face the fact that if they cast the last spell from the Book of Ra, it will also release Apophis as Khepri binds him. Michel Desjardins, the Chief Lector of the House of Life arrives having changed sides and battles Vlad as Sadie casts the spell. She gets the Khepri beetle, but Apophis is finally released and rises and possess Vlad to act as his host. Sadie, Carter, and Desjardins battle Apophis, but prove to be no match for him, barely holding him off as he tries to kill Ra. Finally, in an act of desperation, Desjardins sacrifices all of his life force to cast an execration on Apophis, banishing him a bit deeper into the Duat and allowing Sadie, Carter, Ra and the dying Desjardins to escape. However, Desjardins is not strong enough to banish Apophis for long and he will return in a matter of days or weeks.
Apophis is rising with the plan to consume Ra and destroy the world. He converts magicians Sarah Jacobi and Kwai to his side to create Chaos and to destroy the House of Life. At the beginning, he destroys all copies of Setne's version of the Book of Overcoming Apophis as it contains a way to destroy him. He battles a team of magicians led by Sadie and Carter Kane and Walt Stone in Dallas over the last copy and destroys it and nearly a shadow box which contains King Tut's sheut and is a clue about his weakness. Sadie manages to banish him from the area by using Ma'at, but it nearly kills her and Apophis' minions destroy the Fifty-First Nome and all the magicians inside. Looking for a way to destroy him for good, Carter and Sadie Kane come with the plan of destroying his sheut, his shadow with help from Anubis and Thoth. While Sadie and Walt Stone go on a separate quest, Carter, Zia Rashid and the ghost of the evil magician Setne travel to the Land of Demons to get the sheut. Setne betrays the two, planning to use the sheut to blackmail Apophis into doing what he wants, but is defeated when Sadie Kane arrives. The sheut sends out a distress call as Sadie binds it into a shabti and an army of demons comes to its aid, but is defeated by an army of gods from the House of Rest. Apophis rises and battles an army of gods, including Ra, Bast, Bes, and Sobek. Apophis proves to be too powerful for the gods and succeeds in swallowing Ra. During the battle, drawing upon the power of Horus and Isis as well as their own power, Carter and Sadie perform an execration spell on Apophis' sheut while in his presence. The spell destroys his sheut and with that, Apophis is destroyed as well, warning the Kanes that with his death, the gods will leave too. As he dies, Ra explodes out of his head and Apophis' remains crumble into sand and goo.
While Apophis doesn't appear, he is referenced a few times in the story: Sadie tells Annabeth Chase that Setne escaped with the Book of Thoth because they needed his help with something, but doesn't explain further about Apophis. When facing down Serapis, Sadie tells him of how her mother sacrificed herself to seal Apophis in the Duat and that Apophis was a lot older and more powerful than Serapis and Sadie doesn't intend to let a second-rate god do what Apophis couldn't.
Malicious, and cunning, Apophis is, in every way, pure evil. As Isfet incarnate, he exists for no other reason but to destroy, and spread Chaos. While certainly sardonic, and taunting, Apophis does not possess the sarcasm or wit of Set, another (former) enemy. He does not ever use slang, and his taunts are generally restricted to psychological torment or gloating. According to Set, Apophis prefers to fight his own battles and is not one to share power or prestige with anyone. That said, this does not stop him from manipulating others, even gods, to his goals. He cares nothing for his demon minions, viewing them as nothing more than tools to be used, and disposed of as necessary.
As the manifestation of chaos, creation and order literally pain Apophis, considering its presence to be physically tormenting, and restraining. This gives Apophis immense spite for the gods, who represent Ma'at. It's indicated that his ultimate objective is to wipe creation clean from existence, leaving him free to swim forever in Chaos.
Apophis takes on the appearance of a gigantic cobra-like serpent. His body is formed of reddish Chaos sandstorm and lightning, rippling with Chaos energy. He has the Isfet hieroglyph blazing on his cobra's crest. His mouth looks like a pink cavern with huge dripping fangs. He has red serpentine eyes. According to Carter, Apophis is so colossal, that "to say he was huge would be like saying the Titanic took on a little water." In The Serpent's Shadow, after Apophis returns to full power once more, he coils under the desert for a couple of miles (in and out of the Duat), wrapping around the pyramids and tunneling under the outskirts of Cairo, "lifting entire neighborhoods like old carpeting." Even his head alone was almost as tall as the 450-foot Great Pyramid. Apophis is described as having a hissing, deep voice.
As the serpentine manifestation of Chaos itself, Apophis' power is of apocalyptic proportions, and far surpasses that of any individual god. Thus, Apophis is, quite possibly, the most powerful being in all of Egyptian Mythology. Only Ra comes close to holding his own against Apophis in a fight, but even he needed his lieutenant Set to help him fight the great Serpent on equal terms. When returning to full power and confronted with an army of gods and magicians in The Serpent's Shadow, Apophis proved to be too powerful for them all to beat, even Ra.
- Massive Strength: Apophis has tremendous physical strength, far greater than that of any god, even Sobek, Set and Ra. It is highly likely that Apophis would have eventually defeated all of them, had the Kane siblings not execrated his shadow just in time.
- Durability: Apophis also has great extreme durability, healing, and endurance, as he was able to heal or withstand almost every blow he took in The Serpent's Shadow, with only the attacks of Ra being effective at temporarily disrupting the Serpent's seemingly invulnerable form.
- Paralyzing Gaze: Apophis also has the power to paralyze his foe when they look directly at him. However, this trick doesn't work on Ra, because the latter is "too hot to handle".
- Reality Splintering: Apophis can splinter reality and the Duat into many layers to make multiples of himself to fight and divide his enemies (similar to the Set avatar), fighting all of them separately at once, making him harder to fight and defeat.
- Chaos Generation: Apophis' very presence radiates Chaos, and can cause an entire room to crumble.
- Possession: Apophis can also posses various beings, including demons, baus and various monsters with even just a small amount of ba. He is able to do this even from his prison. When he possesses Kwai with only a fraction of himself, Kwai's magical powers and lightning generation become tremendously increased, to the point that it took the combined effort of four gods (Horus, Isis, Set, and Anubis) to successfully overpower him, and even then, Kwai had enough energy to bring down the Hall of Ages. His ability to split his ba and possess others, gives Apophis a limited level of omnipresence.
Ra: Ra and Apophis were sworn enemies and battled each night, and of course, with the help of Set, Ra won every time. The dynamic between the two are that of pure opposites. Their existence opposes each other, and they do nothing but fight. During The Serpent's Shadow, the two battle again once Ra has been reborn and Apophis has risen and Apophis succeeds in swallowing him. However, when the Kanes destroyed him, though Apophis plans to take Ra with him, Ra manages to escape, causing his head to explode.
Bast: Apophis and Bast are natural enemies because Ra (the sun god) sent her to battle Apohis in the Duat for eternity before Apophis slowly began to overcome her. Ruby Kane set Bast free, but Ruby lost her life doing so. As a result of their battles, a telepathic connection of sorts was apparently formed between them though Apophis seemed unaware of it as when Bast investigated his prison in The Throne of Fire, she was able to sense his thoughts and learned his plans. During the final battle with Apophis, the two fought again, with Bast fighting longer than most of the other gods, right up until Apophis was destroyed.
Set: Before Ra retreated to the Duat and Set turned on the other gods, Set was Ra's lieutenant, protecting him every night from attacks by Apophis. When the gods were released, Apophis possessed Face of Horror, Set's lieutenant and manipulated him into destroying North America in order to create enough Chaos for Apophis to escape. He nearly succeeded, but was stopped by the Kanes who revealed his form in the sky to Set, exposing the truth to him and later killing Face of Horror, stopping the manipulation. The threat of Apophis was enough for Set to stop trying to create Chaos and work with the Kanes to stop Apophis, even later allowing Amos Kane to use him in battle so he could fight Apophis. Set explains that between Apophis, the God of Chaos and Ra, he would choose Ra every time even though he's a Chaos god too.
Vladimir Menshikov: After Vlad tried and failed to wake Ra and was horribly burned for it, he teamed up with Apophis in order to get his revenge. Apophis is released thanks to Vlad's efforts and Apophis repays him by possessing his body. This horrifies Vlad who's eyes could be seen begging for death. Vlad is killed when Apophis is execrated, but all Apophis loses is a loyal servant.
Face of Horror: A demon possessed by Apophis to manipulate Set into doing his bidding. Through Face of Horror, Apophis successfully manipulated Set until he was defeated by the Kanes. After Sadie Kane exposed Apophis, he tried to use Face of Horror to kill her in revenge, but Face of Horror was killed by Carter. Apophis later apparently resurrected the demon and gave him wings and used him during an attack against Thoth. Possessing the demon again, Apophis extended his offer to Carter, but the demon was killed a second time by Thoth.
Sarah Jacobi/Kwai: Evil magicians who led a rebellion against Amos Kane's leadership of the House of Life. The two claimed to be doing it stop Apophis but were really in league with him. Apophis planned an attack by them on the House of Life at the same time that he rose to distract the magicians. It nearly succeeded until Carter (merged with Horus), Sadie (merged with Isis) and Walt (merged with Anubis) joined the battle led by Amos Kane (merged with Set). After Walt/Anubis killed Jacobi, Apophis possessed Kwai to fight the magicians himself. After Walt/Anubis and his jackal warriors brought Kwai down, Apophis had Kwai use up his remaining life force to cast a spell to bring down the Hall of Ages to kill the magicians inside, but Sadie Kane managed to stop it with Ma'at and Apophis' plan failed.
Sadie and Carter Kane: During The Red Pyramid, Apophis, possessing Face of Horror manipulated Set into creating enough Chaos so that he could escape. The two foiled his plans and revealed him so he tried to use Face of Horror to kill Sadie, but the demon was killed by Carter. In The Throne of Fire, Apophis repeatedly taunted Carter about his feelings for Zia Rashid and worked to manipulate him into waking Ra so he could swallow him. The information from Apophis and Set later led Carter to Zia even though he knew it to likely be a trap. After rising and possessing Vladimir Menshikov, Apophis battled the Kanes until Michel Desjardins execrated him temporarily. In The Serpent's Shadow, Apophis attacked the Kanes directly, after she makes him angry by calling him a rat snake, in a King Tut museum, trying to kill them but later offered a deal to Carter through a resurrected Face of Horror to spare him and his family if they gave him Ra. However, Carter didn't believe him and in the end, the Kanes destroyed Apophis forever.
- Apophis' original name is Apep; the name 'Apophis' comes from the Greek language.
- Apophis is the only Egyptian god in the Kane Chronicles series who is ever truly killed: the rest are just banished deep into the Duat to return one day while he is gone for good.
- In some myths, he's a brother of Ra and the son of Neith.
- Similar as his image is to Typhon, his Greco-Roman equivalent would be Tartarus for their commons on dark Protogenos of the Abyss and Monster Lordship.
- His Norse equivalent is not so much Jormungand as Fenris, who is destined to destroy (devour) the chief god.
- Apophis is similar to the Zoroastrian entity Angra Mainyu (Ahriman).
- Both are the personifications of darkness and evil in their respective religions.
- Both are the chief adversaries of a light deity (Ahura Mazda for Angra Mainyu, Ra for Apophis).
- Both despise creation and want the destruction of the universe.
- Both have an army of demons and evil magicians serving them.
- An asteroid that has a 2.7% chance of hitting Earth in 2029, April 13th is named after him.